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Soma Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Tempe, Arizona
United States
The Red Rock Company
95F / 35C
Total Time = 4h 40m 54s
Overall Rank = 20/1200
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 4/128
Pre-race routine:

Just a little intro. This race comes 5 weeks after 70.3 Branson, where I had a decent race, no breakthrough, solid AG placing, Vegas slot and a race execution that confirmed once again several weaknesses. I was very motivated to come to Soma and attempt at 4:30 race, with that idea, after Branson, I went into long and intense work way before my body was ready. It told me by being unable to train at any intensity over Z2 in all 3. I was very disappointed as my ambitious time goal was going to be out of reach. With measurable loss in threshold fitness, I scaled back my expectations to nil and went for a trip with regret. I tested my bike FTP 1 week prior at 260W, 152lbs, came down from 275W where I was at Branson. Run training was all around 7:50 pace as I just could not up it from there. I did the work, there was no doubt about that and endurance was there, even some race specific fitness as well.
This was a family 5 day trip to Tempe and I thought might as well enjoy the whole thing. I completely took my mind of this race trying to look forward as to what I need to correct in my work. I was even taking notes on the flight into Phoenix. And I need to make some major changes for sure.

Up at 4AM. Usual pre race breakfast, total about 800cal, coffee...Bike was racked the PM prior, little ride to T1,2, 15 min set up, very nice, calm. The venue is beautiful, the terrain features for us from midwest are unreal, dry air, loved it all.
Suit was on half way and was waiting for a short warm up.
Took one honey stinger gel+1 salt tab+ water.
Event warmup:

Short 5min swim, nice and easy, loose. I have read many and tried a few warm up routines. The only one that works for me and makes sense is a very brief easy jog 5-10min than very light static and dynamic swim related stretch. 10-15min in the water with some race pace pick ups and that is it. Running and biking for a long course race warm does not fit for me. It also impossible to warm up the bike due to check in rules. Also physiologically makes little sense. For short course racing maybe different, the shorter the race, the longer the warm up. That is the first lesson learned here.
  • 32m 25s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 32s / 100 yards

I set out to swim the slowest possible swim with a goal of keeping the lid on the effort in order to prepare for a strong run. In previous races, I have always swam stronger than I should and it was affecting my run later. As I had no other goals for this but an even split or negative split run, considering heat and body core temp in the 74F water and wetsuit, I decided to start holding back early. I seeded myself all the way to the right front side as I intended to swim alone. I did not want to push the start either, body contact does not bother me, I am an ok swimmer. We started. I settled into easy pace, long stroke, easy pull. No hard breathing. Easy kick. felt really good, after 200-300m looked around and was just behind the lead pack, somebody was on my feet, for me no feet to hang but it is ok, less chance that I will push. As easy as I thought I was swimming, found myself in clear water from the start, the dude on my feet dropped. Sun was coming out and became a factor only 100-200m before the first turn, was really hard to see with clear goggles. Made the turn and was now running into the previous wave and further down was catching up with some of the swimmers from my AG as they went too hard. Been there before and I know it hurts. Was checking my breathing, keeping long stroke and keep the kick very low intensity. RPE was spot on. Mill Street bridge came quick, last turn, stairs, up, did not have enough time to remove suit half way down for strippers, lost some time there. I was up on stairs in actual swim time of 31:15, distance did appear longer.
What would you do differently?:

Not much of anything. Wish I came with better fitness, but I think I used wisely what I had. We often allow ego to get in the way of objectivity, one of the rare humble self assessment moments to prove correct later.
Transition 1
  • 01m 8s

This was my fastest T1 ever, I am sure what I gave in time with strippers, sure I took back here. It felt smooth and methodical.
I did fumble getting my feet into shoes at the start on the bike.
I came in 13th M40-44 into T1, came out 10th place, moved 3 spots.
What would you do differently?:

Need to work more on flying mount feet into shoes.
  • 2h 26m 45s
  • 56 miles
  • 22.90 mile/hr

Came out settled in, pulled shoe on, arm coolers, ready to work. I knew I had to make this ride comfortable and hold back using RPE and HR. Being on EN where emphasis is on power, we tend to forget about the cost of that power we are producing. I was slowly increasing effort over the first 25min to reach my target AP 210W, it felt good, felt relatively easy, checked the HR was about 146-147. Where I wanted to be. It was now a matter of sticking with the plan and not thinking that I suddenly have this permission to open it up based on some mysterious fitness that showed up. It did not. First loop I was not passing or being passed, looked down and kept focus keeping on calories and hydration. Love the bike course, to was very scenic, enjoyed it but one eye always on the stupidometer making sure it was not telling me I was being stupid. Second loop got more crowded and my bike handling skills are not that great. Power was kept very constant minus the accelerations out of the turns, HR showed very steady, temp was now climbing and wind was little stronger but no issue with the PM it is easy.
I was now passing and being passed by the same 3 faces around me, could not tell AG, bib numbers meant nothing. I made sure I was legal distance, to the right and my AP and HR, RPE were in check. After the last turnaround I backed off slightly, increased cad and started stretching and preparing for the run. I felt great, no pain no discomfort and was sure the easiest 56mi ride I have ever done. It had to be that way for me to run after, I knew. After the turn of the Mill Street bridge, feet came on top of shoes and I was preparing to come off. I did frequently poor water on my arm coolers and it was making a huge difference in keeping cool. Temp was getting up there, over 80F now.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. Rode within my ability, IF .83 is decent, VI was a little high but understandable. I was dreaming of 2:20 bike split for a 4:30 time but maybe, maybe I will figure out one day how to get there.
Transition 2
  • 01m 7s

Again smooth and fast, put socks, shoes, picked up race belt, visor, flask and FR 305 and was out on the run course putting all that on, my 12 year old sons advice. Love it. Both kids are swimmers and do tris during summer. Wife has been nagging about my slow T1,2s for two years, I think I took my sons suggestion and made them proud, at least during T1 and T2 when everybody sees.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, I think I am beginning to understand what I need to do. It is taking only 4 years.
  • 1h 39m 27s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 35s  min/mile

I did not test VDOT for this race and did not stick with the usual EN script. Instead I relied more on HR to dictate pacing along with RPE. I was now 7th AG going into the run and the only part of the race I wanted personal redemption. I wanted even split or negative split and worked entire race to set the stage up for that. Swim, bike efforts appeared correct, hydration/ feeding appeared correct, felt strong and no issues. Next thing now is holding back the early run. If you did everything correct to this point, this is the moment where athletes frequently blow the race, I did just that 5 weeks ago running 6:40 pace (goal 7:10) after IF .85 for 3 hrs, yep Branson is brutal. Armed with lessons learned and a team mate who took the time to counsel me on pacing, I made a promise I will execute this one correct. I thank him for it. He was not physically present at the race but was in my head, held me accountable. Sometimes that is what we all need, little accountability.
I settled at the bottom of Z3 155 on HR, produced the pace of around 7:35. Two M40-44 AGer zoomed by me as if I was standing. It was hard watching that and not responding, I felt good but though A they are so good I will see them when I finish at the chute or they are blowing the lid now and I will scoop them in later. I have rarely run anyone down. That happens to me only in Branson it seems. I stuck to it, was focusing on mi 2 and feeding there as I usually do miles 2, 6 and 9. Felt good, turned into the wind and the pace dropped slightly to control the rise of HR, mi 2 caught an athlete along from M35-39 AG, went by we cheered each other on. Mi 3-5 was keeping the pace and slowly began to close on M40-44 ahead, kept my effort in control, checking breathing and HR. I was hitting every aid station for water to either drink or poor onto my arm coolers and Zoot hat I had special for this occasion as it proved valuable. This was equipment test for 2012 Vegas. I like to dial my gear early and not experiment later. It was getting hot and going over 88F, first 6.55 loop ran at avg. 7:36, HR was now well into Z4, breathing was noticeable, I did pass few more athletes, miles 7-9 went by I took my last sip out of the flask but failed to take two more salt tabs. Will feel it later. Still keeping the pace, little slower on short uphill sections and I am catching up with more M40-44 AG athletes, two of them, one by one I go by cheered them on, off I went. It was surprising that proper execution with lesser fitness can produce a solid race. By now in every single race I was in some very dark places, agonizing myself, not today, it is hard, but legs are turning and I am realizing that I am very close to the AG podium. Miles 9-11 I worked myself now somewhere into the front AG, was not sure exactly, but I knew it was good. Heat was now on big time. Last 2mi have up and down over the bridge and onto gravel, knew it was going to be hard. I went through the last aid station with cooling water over me rather than taking in. Looked around and loved the scenery, was trying to tame down the joy of what came to be my best executed run in triathlon to date, not the fastest time per say, but given the heat it may have very well been. I was running on fumes, feeling twitching in my hamstrings, yep coming back to hunt missing salt tabs, no water now, cant take them, pace was slowing down, sec loop avg was coming around 7:41-7:43 give or take with the last 2mi slowest. Despite of that still met the target. Went for the chute and felt relieved after crossing the line, did not fall down did not feel dizzy as I usually do, was able to stand on my own.
Later I found out 4th M40-44 and earned it on the run.
What would you do differently?:

Given how the season went, this was the best use of resources possible. It came very close to even split for me and I am happy, I will take it.
Post race
Warm down:


What limited your ability to perform faster:

Lack of fitness.

Event comments:

Tempe is a great town and venue is awesome. Soma was my first Redrock event and I am impressed. They ran it like clockwork. Really excellent all around experience, no drama (Mdot drama), very relaxed and low key. Highly recommend this race.

Last updated: 2011-10-26 12:00 AM
00:32:25 | 2112 yards | 01m 32s / 100yards
Age Group: 13/128
Overall: 48/1200
Performance: Good
Suit: Xterra VPX2
Course: Counterclockwise rectangle. The distance does appear to be longer as all the times including pros were unusually slow. Another issue is, out on the stairs, strippers are at the top, suit is still on, have to stand take the top down, than sit.......and after another 100m+ run to the timing mat.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 74F / 23C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 01:08
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Bad Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Below average
02:26:45 | 56 miles | 22.90 mile/hr
Age Group: 5/128
Overall: 22/1200
Performance: Good
AP 210W NP 216W IF .83 VI 1.03 cad 95 HR 147 (zone 3 134-152) TSS 167 FTP 260W, 152lbs Nutrition/ hydration/ electrolytes: 300cal/hr Infinit, 1360mg/hr sodium, 30oz of fluid/hr
Wind: Some
Course: 3 loops, mostly flat with a section north of the lake having a rolling flavor but nothing to write home about. Major complaint about the course is that it has 15 180 degree turns with near complete stops, several 90 degree turns that turn into single lane, pretty narrow. Some bunching up on the course and witnessed several blatant drafting infractions, bound to happen on such a course.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 95
Turns: Average Cornering: Below average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:07
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:39:27 | 13.1 miles | 07m 35s  min/mile
Age Group: 8/128
Overall: 38/1200
Performance: Good Feeding/ nutrition/ electrolytes Totals: 360cal as 3 honey stinger gels, mixed with salt tabs 6 tabs all in a flask, so 360cal+1260mg sodium+ additional tabs taken along as needed mixed with caffeine. 430mg additional sodium, Total sodium 1700mg. Not enough sodium, should have been about 1900-2000.
Course: It is a well known IMAZ run course as I understand, I was new to it, never raced here before. The course is hot period, no shade in wide open space, you can hide underneath the bridge. What is more interesting it is 3/4 in falls flats, 2 loops, concrete for the most and a section or two of fine packed gravel. Gravel slows you down. That asphalt or concrete rebound is not there. This course can be deceptive. We will call it flat.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2011-10-27 10:30 PM

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Extreme Veteran
Olathe, Kansas
Subject: Soma Triathlon

2011-10-27 10:45 PM
in reply to: #3741694

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Westlake Village , Ca.
Subject: RE: Soma Triathlon
Great race and great passed me somewhere out there on the run...congrats!
2011-10-28 12:54 AM
in reply to: #3741694

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Extreme Veteran
Olathe, Kansas
Subject: RE: Soma Triathlon
Thanks. I remember seeing the KSWISS kit on the run, it was around the turnaround and under bridge. Great work yourself. You are awesome for 2 years of racing, that is great.
2011-10-28 12:25 PM
in reply to: #3741694

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Fountain Hills, AZ
Subject: RE: Soma Triathlon
Great job! I wish I knew you were here, I would have loved to say hello and meet you!
2011-10-29 9:57 PM
in reply to: #3741694

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Overland Park, KS
Subject: RE: Soma Triathlon

Nice work out there Aleks!  All those 180 and 90 degree turns and still nearly 23 mph average, very impressive, also considering you paced yourself for the run.  Your represented Kansas well

2011-11-03 6:58 PM
in reply to: #3741694

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New user

Subject: RE: Soma Triathlon
You DA MAN  Spar-Tasic !!!! 

2011-11-03 9:29 PM
in reply to: #3741694

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Extreme Veteran
Olathe, Kansas
Subject: RE: Soma Triathlon

Thanks guys. Bryan, wish we met. Hope that we will run into each other somewhere. It would be great to meet you in person and put a face to so many educational posts you made here.

Thank you all again for reading my report. I am humbled by the fact that somebody takes the  time to read through 5 hours of my life that matter to me.

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